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Reasons to study the film
A popular hit at the box office in France is usually likely to include much humour and probably some stereotyping with a little reality thrown in. All three of these are the case with Intouchables which is worth teaching on several levels. The topic of family is important within the film as are, tangentially, discrimination and life in the banlieue. Mostly the film is about two men, one white, one black, who despite being poles apart in so many ways, manage to hit it off and depend on each other. Based on a true story, the film depends very much on the charisma of Omar Sy as Driss whose vitality contrasts with the physical handicap of Philippe. played by François Cluzet.
The interest of the film
The film thrives on humour which results from the clash between polar opposites such as good versus bad taste, riches versus poverty, big house versus tiny flat, the informal versus the formal. It is relatively easy for the student to collect the examples of these opposites as the relationship between Driss and Philippe develops. Certainly Driss is a stereotype, the crook with a heart of gold who sorts things out in his own way; this suits Philippe who hates to be pitied by the people around him. Rather crusty and old-fashioned he gradually manages to impose some of his values on his "aide à la personne" although Driss's insouciant, steamroller-like way of operating has a more lasting effect on his boss's well-being and love life.